Saturday, September 9, 2017


When veggies go bad

Ellen peeked out between the leaves, then sighed. A small herd of juvenile cauliflowers milled around in a clearing. Most had strips of of black fabric tied around their stalks – apparently this was a gathering of some kind of vegetative cult. One hopped up on a stump and the rest quieted down. As the leader began to speak, Ellen started to sidle around to the north side, closest to the road.

About halfway there she stepped on a brittle worm. The head cauliflower thrust a floret towards her, screamed gibberish at the top of its lungs, and jumped up and down frenziedly. Its followers ran at her, their lateral florets rotating menacingly.

Holy compost! She recognized this behavior. These weren't delinquent young cauliflowers, they were albino midget ninja broccoli stalks in full flower. She turned and ran.

10 minutes later she burst through the door of the cooperative pipefitters workshop. "Get the cheese sauce, Ma! We got a full scale invasion on our hands." No need to say what was invading.

Micha paled, put a hand out to steady herself. The CPW was scarcely equipped to deal with this.

"Ellen. Run. Head for the river."


The crudities swept everything before them to the bank of the Jack.

Michon wiped her brow and squinted at the further bank. "My whole livelihood's tied up in the CPW, Phil," she growled, "this better work." He squeezed her shoulder reassuringly. "Don't worry, Ma," Ellen said, 'we got 'em right where we want 'em."

As if that were a signal, the maddened vegetable hordes poured into the water and began swimming strongly across the current. A rocket shot up from the river terrace, exploding high above.

Upriver, the floodgates opened.

Soon, the defenders could hear the broccoli chittering maniacally, the leaders scarcely 20 m from the riverbank, their spears weaving figure eights in the golden sun. Where was the flood?

A whitish tint swept downstream and the cries of the broccoli took on a note of alarm. The vegetables, one by one, stopped swimming. They floated inert in the suddenly sluggish river, and the defenders waded out from the bank, spearing the broccoli and gorging themselves on their erstwhile enemies.

Later, lethargy born of stress and an excess of dairy products washed over them. They reclined on the grass.

Phil sucked his fingers. "Monterey does it again."

Ellen smacked her lips. "Ma? Could we grow some? Little ones?"

The end

Publ. Daily Cabal 2007

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